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Terminator Salvation (2009)

The End Begins.

Directed by:


Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 115 minutes

US Certificate: 12A UK Certificate: PG-13

So THIS is what we’ve been waiting for for the 25 or so years that have passed since we collectively learned the meaning of the word “terminator”? THIS is the epic battle Arnold’s been telling us about, the war to end it all? That’s a shame, because really, an iconic action franchise that’s had two out of three hits deserved a better send off than this. Then again—I don’t think this is a send-off so much as a set up, though really, why anyone would want to return to this world is beyond me.

It’s 2018, and as we all know by now, John Connor (Christian Bale) is the go-to guy who’s supposed to fight the evil Skynet and their Terminator minions. Throw in a guy last seen on death row named Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) who may or may not be an ally, and John’s not sure of anything he’s ever been told. They fight on, though, straight into the robotic heart of the enemy, where they learn all they ever wanted to know about their enemy’s plans to destroy humanity.

So, Terminator started it all off with a bang, Terminator 2: Judgment Day was a perfect blend of story and action that was a rare case of sequel outshining original, and even Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was OK in parts. And this—well—this was supposed to be the big climax we’ve been working towards through it all. Not so much. Basically, it’s a lot of action (and, in one of my only compliments for the film, action done well—can’t blame the visual effects guys for a lack of story or character, because they obviously did their bit) and no squishy middle. I’m not saying we need to cry or have some in-depth exploration of the soul via robots, but when there are two main guys, one of who is a critically-acclaimed actor portraying a character we’ve heard for decades is supposed to save humanity, it’s disheartening to not always be able to tell them apart. It’s all splashy blow-ups and fighting (and not even really cool fighting) and none of the heart and occasional humor that made the other three films more than just action. Also, in this bleak, colorless landscape where it’s all about the fight, I’d stop and wonder why anyone’s really even fighting to survive—if I cared, that is. As it is, I’m just disappointed that this isn’t even the end we’d all hoped for, because all this movie has done is set us up for another drab, robotic installment instead of paying off with the anticipated granddaddy of all battles.

It's Got: Great effects.

It Needs: Better story, better characters, guys who don’t look alike, Arnold.


Terminator, Terminator 2:Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines


There’s really nothing to recommend about this cold, dreary sequel, unless, of course, you’re just one of those people who needs closure—though even at that, you don’t really get it.

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